We celebrated the coming of Christmas with our customary concert which included traditional hymns, our choirs, a number of soloists, and musical ensembles alongside more contemporary takes on the nativity. Listening to the standard of music and drama our students performed, I was very proud and somewhat humbled to be the Principal of Catmose College, which led me to reflect on just how important to our ethos those activities outside of the academic teaching are.
In many schools nationally, as the emphasis on improving GCSE outcomes has improved, we have seen music and drama provision shrinking. This is not the approach we have taken at Catmose College; over the last five years we have increased our music and drama provision each year, supporting more students than ever to take instrumental lessons and enter our music scholars’ programme; we have also increased the number of teachers the College employs in this field. We believe that the skills, resilience, practice and ability to keep going when you make a mistake are critical to reaching a high standard of performance and are just as critical to academic success, building the skills that are essential to forge careers in an ever competitive world. It is by no accident that, alongside our academic support programmes, this long-term approach to our students’ development has led to improving examination results that make Catmose one of the highest performing schools nationally.
It is also why I am passionate about Harington School, an academic sixth form for Rutland. At present our students are faced with a stark choice, to travel significant distances or to access independent schools. Two options that are expensive and disruptive to a student’s education at such a critical stage of their development. This is particularly the case for our most talented musicians, who, by virtue of having to spend so much time travelling, limit their availability to continue performing at a high level. Harington will allow these students to stay local and continue to develop their skills whilst attending a high-performing academic sixth form school.
The opportunities on offer at Catmose will also be on offer at Harington; high quality instrumental lessons, access to ensemble groups and performance opportunities. There is no doubt that our students appreciate the quality of our teachers and we wish this to extend to their post-16 studies. Catmose is fortunate to be a community of committed parents, students and staff who work together to ensure that students are best placed for the challenges ahead. Staff who led the concert: Matt Sammy, Leanne Mitchell, Jasmine Jones, Luke Donnelly, Gary Austin and Dan Bond are characteristic of the staff who will also lead Harington, people who readily give up their evenings and weekends in order that students have opportunities they will never forget. Harington will be as successful because this same partnership that makes Catmose successful will also be present in Harington. To support the next steps in Harington please do follow this link: www.haringtonschool.com